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Thread: Brahma - important or not?

  1. #21
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    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Pranam

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    Namaste,
    The sages aren't rAjAsik or tamAsik, but their questions elicited answers which are beneficial to those who are. Hence, the classification.
    So now we will change the definition of audience, i do not think i need to answer the rest.

    As an aside, all of this started when I was answering a question from a newcomer to the forum. Ganesh Prasad's sectarian objections are well-known and have been argued ad nauseum by him elsewhere, and there is hardly any need to rehash them here. It would be nice if he did not go out of his way to pick a fight over these issues every time one brings up details from our scriptures which don't match his personal views.

    regards,
    Last time i check this is an open Hindu forum, to present it in positive light, if i feel the details that serve no purpose other then divide the Hindus, i make it a point to object to certain passages that might be subject to being inserted at later date. there is no reason for me to pick a fight, i have not abuse you in anyway. There are those who hold Shiva Purana in high regards, nothing they read in it suggest it to be Tamsik, Vyasji did not say in Shiva Puran that you are reading a Tamsik text, period. if i have to read somewhere else the alleged classification i have to question its authenticity.

    Jai Shree Kreishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

  2. #22
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    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Namaste

    The gunik classification of puranas is from the padma purana, one of the most sectarian and narrow puranas (insofar as it possible for a purana to be narrow...) notorious for interpolations.

    The claim that the so-called tamasik/rajasik puranas ask narrower questions and elicit narrower responses is patently false, and does not bear any real reading of the puranas, such as the shear vastness of the skanda purana and its coverage of... just about everything, kind of like most of the rest of the major 18(19) puranas.

    Namaste

  3. #23

    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Pranams,

    Quote Originally Posted by Shuddhasattva View Post
    Namaste

    The gunik classification of puranas is from the padma purana, one of the most sectarian and narrow puranas (insofar as it possible for a purana to be narrow...) notorious for interpolations.
    It's also from the Matsya Puraana. I doubt that they are both interpolated.

    As far as the Padma Puraana is concerned, much material there is noticeably disliked by several Hindu sects. For example, it contains explanations regarding the origins of Pashupata Shaivism, Buddhism, mAyAvAda, etc that are not flattering to the followers of these doctrines. In a moment of honest reflection, I think we can admit to ourselves that many of these accusations of interpolation are based on sectarian bias rather than objective research based on facts.

    The claim that the so-called tamasik/rajasik puranas ask narrower questions and elicit narrower responses is patently false,
    No it isn't.

    Take the Skandha Purana, for example. According to http://www.astrojyoti.com/skandapurana.htm it begins as follows:
    "Salutations to Lord Shankar who has entrusted the job of creation to Lord Brahma–Who has instructed Lord Vishnu to nurture the world and who himself acts as the supreme annihilator.During ancient times, once, Sage Shaunak had performed a grand ‘yagya’ at his hermitage in Naimisharanya forest. Many sages had thronged Naimisharanya to attend it. One of them was Sage Lomesh.After the yagya was over, all the assembled Sages requested Sage Lomesh to narrate the divine tales of Lord Shiva."

    Or, how about the Linga Purana? According to http://www.astrojyoti.com/lingapurana.htm it begins as follows: "The sages greeted Lomaharshana and said, “You had studied the Puranas under Vedavyasa himself. Please recite for us the Purana that describes the glory of Shiva’s linga (image). "

    And then there is the Shiva Purana. According to the summary at http://www.astrojyoti.com/shivapurana.htm it begins with:
    "There were many sages who lived in a forest named naimisharanya. One day, these sages accosted Romaharshana and said, Romaharshana, you are blessed. You have taught us a lot, but we are still not satisfied. You have had the fortune of studying under Vedavyasa and there is nothing that you do not know, past, present or future. Tell us about Shiva, we do not know very much about Shiva."

    Note the narrow scope of the questions posed in these non-sAttvik purANa-s. Now, compare and contrast with a sAttvik purANa like the bhAgavatam:

    "Please, therefore, being blessed with many years, explain to us, in an easily understandable way, what you have ascertained to be the absolute and ultimate good for the people in general." (bhA 1.1.9)

    Or the Vishnu Puraana (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp035.htm):

    "Maitreya said, Master! I have been instructed by you in the whole of the Vedas, and in the institutes of law and of sacred science: through your favour, other men, even though they be my foes, cannot accuse me of having been remiss in the acquirement of knowledge. I am now desirous, oh thou who art profound in piety! to hear from thee, how this world was, and how in future it will be? what is its substance, oh Brahmin, and whence proceeded animate and inanimate things? into what has it been resolved, and into what will its dissolution again occur? how were the elements manifested? whence proceeded the gods and other beings? "

    Compared to non-sAttvik purANas, in which the questioner asks to be told about a specific purANa, or about a specific deity, the question in the sAttvik purANa is framed in a more general way, i.e. What is the underlying basis of all this? From whom or what do all things emanate and again dissolve? etc. This is why their subject matter is more Vedaantic than sectarian, and why they are rightfully regarded as being sAttvik.

    and does not bear any real reading of the puranas, such as the shear vastness of the skanda purana and its coverage of... just about everything, kind of like most of the rest of the major 18(19) puranas.

    Namaste
    That the Skandha Puraana touches on themes found in other Puraanas does not change the basic fact that its theme is primarily oriented towards the interests of the questioner:
    "Skanda Purana (Kartika Purana) It is the largest of all the Puranas. Contains eighty eight thousand and one hundred Shlokas (stanzas). Has seven parts- Maheshwar, Vaishnava, Brahma, Kashi, Avanti, Nagar and Prabhasa. Purana got its name from Skand (Kartikeya) the son of Lord Shiva. Birth of Skand; its reason and effects constitute the main theme. Kartikeya was the commander of the gods’ army and had killed the demon Tarkasura." (from http://www.astrojyoti.com/skandapurana.htm)

    regards,
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  4. #24

    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    Pranams. I suggest keeping it. I have one too, and I like it as an easy, portable reference.



    Assuming you are referring to the translations, I have found the differences to be minimal. Most noticeably, the ISKCON translation will often insert "Hare Krishna Maha Mantra" as a translation for "mahA-mantra" and "Supreme Personality of Godhead" for "bhagavAn" and other related terms. Then again, I find "God" to be an abstract concept and also not entirely a fitting translation, but that's another issue. As far as the Sanskrit-mula is concerned, the editions for both are basically the same with only minor numbering differences. The ISKCON one will also have commentary while the Gita Press one does not. There is another translation published by Motilal Banarsidass which I have not read. Mostly because it's more of an academic's translation than a devotee's translation.



    It requires substantial investment of time and consistency at least in the beginning, but the rewards are worth it. :-)

    regards,
    Namaste.

    That has helped me a fair bit, I think I will stick with Gita press' version as for me, the lack of the ISKCON's commentary would be more than compensated by a more faithful translation.

    I was talking to my extended family tonight who are Hindu, and they also recommended to learn Sanskrit as it would add another rich layer of being a Hindu.

    On what Shian was saying, I'm not questioning that it's wrong but I was just confused why Brahma was seen as an important god but didn't have a major school of worship and say Vishnu or Shiva often gets preferred.

    Although I did appreciate your perspective in that Vishnu is seen to use Brahma's hands to create as that's not something I had thought of before.

  5. #25

    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by mradam83 View Post
    Namaste.

    That has helped me a fair bit, I think I will stick with Gita press' version as for me, the lack of the ISKCON's commentary would be more than compensated by a more faithful translation.

    I was talking to my extended family tonight who are Hindu, and they also recommended to learn Sanskrit as it would add another rich layer of being a Hindu.

    On what Shian was saying, I'm not questioning that it's wrong but I was just confused why Brahma was seen as an important god but didn't have a major school of worship and say Vishnu or Shiva often gets preferred.

    Although I did appreciate your perspective in that Vishnu is seen to use Brahma's hands to create as that's not something I had thought of before.
    Namaste,

    I wouldn't say that Gita Press' translation is any more "faithful" than the ISKCON one. They both have their issues as far as translator bias. But, they also both have the Sanskrit, which is nice, and it helps to read different perspectives too.

    Brahmaa is important, since it is he who receives the Vedas from Naaraayana and teaches them to the various sages. He also handles the secondary creation according to the will of Naaraayana. However, like most Vedic deities, he does not have a significant cult of worship. The question I think, isn't why he doesn't have such a following, but why Shiva and Shakti do.

    regards,
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  6. #26
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    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Namaste Mradam83 ji,

    This is where you will run into the varying and vast interpretations/stories that swirl around in Hinduism.
    I will chip in with the way I understand this.

    Brahma & Brahman are different (just one letter makes so much difference!)

    Brahman is the creator and maintainer of whatever exists. Upanishads state that Brahman brought forth whatever we see / perceive by His meditation. Though I am using ‘his’ while referring Brahman for lack of better term , Brahman is not identifiable by shape , form or gender. He is beyond our comprehension. I may as well call Him as Her or It – doesn’t make a difference. He is beyond any desires, emotions or needs and evil doesn’t touch Him. Worshiping is not the way to appease or win favors from Brahman. Since He is prevalent in every creation - any creation (including you and me) can find Him within us by meditating. If we manage to quite our senses , reduce the noises in our mind , shed the ego and find a guru’s grace, then we may be able to achieve this Moksha – i.e. ‘realizing’ the Brahman within us. Brahman is the supreme.

    Since worship and sycophancy doesn’t affect Him , there is no point in having a temple to worship him. Even if we built a temple, we won’t know what will be shape of the murthi we install in the temple since we cannot attribute any form or shape to Him. Vishnu, Shiva , Brahma and other murthis are the ‘human –like’ forms of this all-pervading Brahman. Since a realized being merges and identifies itself with Brahman, we tend to accord them equal status as murthis and deities

    Brahma (note – this NOT Brahman) being cursed or committing incest (I am not even aware of this particular one) etc.. , are sectarian folklore that got into puranas. There are several such stories where deities takes sides in wars , one subjugating other etc.. I have learnt to disregard them.

    Others might have different views. Again that is the nature of Hinduism!

  7. Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by mradam83 View Post
    Namaste.



    I suppose that Brahma and Vishwakarma have something in common in that respect, in that both had elevated status in the beginning (I Think Vishwakarma was featured in Rig Veda quite prominently but then mentions died down over the years) and now it seems that with the exception of a few devotees then the others are now preferred as Ishvar.
    Quote Originally Posted by mradam83 View Post



    Namste! You are absolutely right. The base concept is indeed that of विश्वकर्म viśvakarma "accomplishing, creating everything, creator". In varoius times this concept received various names. As you know, Brahma does not feature in gveda but there is Prajāpati "lord creator and protector". The concept goes deep into pre-history and common to all of us. Compare the Latin progenitor which in Sanskrit would be *prajanitṛ. A similar god was in Greek Prōtogonos (English protagonist). Interestingly, Prōtogonos was imagined as having four heads. In post-Vedic period Prajāpati was also depicted four-headed: each head produced respectively: deva-s (gods), ṛṣi-s (sages), pit-s (ancestors), and nara-s (humans). Now compare this with Brahma! Finally, the supreme Slavonic god Rod (connected to Skr. rodaḥ "Heaven and Earth (whose union produced our world). This god was also imagined as a union of four deities http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ch_Idol_LG.jpg
    What is important is the IDEA not the particular name. For example, in Vedas there was a line: kasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema (X, 121) meaning "to whom should we worship?". This lead to the "appearance" of the god Ka ( kaḥ) "Who" as a supreme god. I think that the transitory name between Prajāpati to Brahma was the Vedic Bṛhaspati "lord of prayer or devotion".

  8. #28

    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Pranams,

    Just a few small addendums to Seeker's otherwise excellent points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Since worship and sycophancy doesn’t affect Him , there is no point in having a temple to worship him.
    He is not affected by worship motivated by personal gain - that is true. He is, however, attracted to worship that has no other goal but the desire to serve Him. Hence, He states in the gItA patraM puShpaM phalaM toyaM yo me bhaktyA prayachchhati / tad ahaM bhaktyupahRtam ashnAmi prayatAmanaH // 9.26 - He does not need a leaf, or flower, etc - it's the devotion with which it is offered, even when the offering itself is very simple, that attracts Him.

    I am reminded of the famous story from the Bhaagavatam of Sudaama Vipra which illustrates this point. Sudaama was a poor braahmin who attended gurukula with Sri Krishna when they were both children. When (later in life) due to poverty, his wife requested him to beg some boons from Sri Krishna (then ruling at Dwaaraka), he does so, not really because he wanted the boons, but because he wanted to have darshan of his childhood friend. Sudaama arrives there in the palace dressed in tattered clothing, carrying nothing more than a bag with 4 handfuls of flat rice. It's not even a very fancy bag - it's a torn, worn-out bag. There, the lowly and unkept Sudaama finds Sri Krishna at the center of attention, ruling as an Emperor, surrounded by opulence and sitting in His opulent bed. Yet Sri Krishna immediately gets down from His bed, seats Sudaama there, and begins to serve him with respect as a kshatriya should for a braahmin, fanning his body, washing his feet, etc. After some catching-up, Krishna takes the meager bag of flat rice from Sudaama and begins to eat it greedily. But Rukminii stops Him after He takes the first handful, saying that simply by accepting this one handful, His satisfaction is so great that she (as the Goddess of Wealth) must reward Sudaama with untold riches both in this life and the next. Sudaama leaves feeling satisfied with Krishna's friendship, but only later realizes that he forgot to beg the boons that his wife urged him to do. No matter, because when he arrives home, he finds that his meager hut has been replaced with an opulent palace, his wife dressed in the finest silks and attended by servants. Yet despite this reward, Sudaama remained unattached to it, remaining always devoted to Sri Krishna.

    Factually speaking, there is nothing we can give Him that He does not already have, except for ourselves. And He reciprocates by bestowing whatever He has on His devotee. He even thinks that all those blessings are nothing, and even His devotee does not require all those things. So in the end, He simply offers Himself to His devotee.

    Such is the God that we worship, the God who is glorified throughout the Vedas!

    Even if we built a temple, we won’t know what will be shape of the murthi we install in the temple since we cannot attribute any form or shape to Him.
    It it is not for us, as mere mortals with limited perception, to imagine a shape for the unlimited Brahman - That is true. However, the shruti does state He has shape and form and we should accept those descriptions which are given to us in shAstras.

    Brahma (note – this NOT Brahman) being cursed or committing incest (I am not even aware of this particular one) etc.. , are sectarian folklore that got into puranas. There are several such stories where deities takes sides in wars , one subjugating other etc.. I have learnt to disregard them.
    He/she might be referring to an episode during the creation in which Brahmaa, after creating vAk (the deity presiding over speech), became sexually attracted to her (bhAgavata 3.12.28) despite her status as a daughter of his. However, there is no mention of any carnal interaction. Instead, Brahmaa out of disgust gave up the body which he had used to create her and simply adopted a new body. None of this should be taken as a reason to disprespect Brahmaa. It simply underscores the power of sexual attraction. Of note, the ISKCON commentary on this shloka states that this bewilderment of Brahmaa occurred prior to his hearing the four seed-verses of the Bhaagvatam by Naaraayana, after which he was blessed by the latter to never become bewildered again. That just underscores the importance of Brahmaa as he is the first of all sages.

    regards,
    Last edited by philosoraptor; 15 June 2012 at 07:45 PM.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  9. #29

    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Namaste Mradam83 ji,

    This is where you will run into the varying and vast interpretations/stories that swirl around in Hinduism.
    I will chip in with the way I understand this.

    Brahma & Brahman are different (just one letter makes so much difference!)

    Brahman is the creator and maintainer of whatever exists. Upanishads state that Brahman brought forth whatever we see / perceive by His meditation. Though I am using ‘his’ while referring Brahman for lack of better term , Brahman is not identifiable by shape , form or gender. He is beyond our comprehension. I may as well call Him as Her or It – doesn’t make a difference. He is beyond any desires, emotions or needs and evil doesn’t touch Him. Worshiping is not the way to appease or win favors from Brahman. Since He is prevalent in every creation - any creation (including you and me) can find Him within us by meditating. If we manage to quite our senses , reduce the noises in our mind , shed the ego and find a guru’s grace, then we may be able to achieve this Moksha – i.e. ‘realizing’ the Brahman within us. Brahman is the supreme.

    Since worship and sycophancy doesn’t affect Him , there is no point in having a temple to worship him. Even if we built a temple, we won’t know what will be shape of the murthi we install in the temple since we cannot attribute any form or shape to Him. Vishnu, Shiva , Brahma and other murthis are the ‘human –like’ forms of this all-pervading Brahman. Since a realized being merges and identifies itself with Brahman, we tend to accord them equal status as murthis and deities

    Brahma (note – this NOT Brahman) being cursed or committing incest (I am not even aware of this particular one) etc.. , are sectarian folklore that got into puranas. There are several such stories where deities takes sides in wars , one subjugating other etc.. I have learnt to disregard them.

    Others might have different views. Again that is the nature of Hinduism!
    Namaste.

    I often get the names wrong - As you said, one letter makes all the difference.

    Brahman I see as everything - me, you, our computers, the world, universe and everything. It would seem bizarre to worship such a grand thing in a lot of ways.

    Would you say Brahma creates abstract things such as new opportunities, new jobs and new friendships on top of physical things?

    Thank you again.

  10. #30
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    Re: Brahma - important or not?

    Namaste mradam83 ji,

    Regarding abstract things being created by Brahma - I have no answer. May be folks with deeper knowledge on scriptures or who have meditated on this question can answer.

    There is a good thread , which answers some of this questions in an oblique way.

    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=8472

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